Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

What it Takes to Volunteer in Thailand!

Volunteering in Thailand

Volunteers in Thailand expose themselves to new cultures, people, and opportunities that reward everyone involved with deep cultural experiences and friendships. Being involved in projects that help disadvantaged people changes the way participants see the world around them and themselves. But volunteering in another culture and country can sometimes be challenging for many reasons. Language barriers and culture differences are just some of the things to be expected when traveling or working abroad and those who adapt quickly to the differences open themselves up to new experiences.

Bangkok, Thailand Volunteer Video

There are a number of character traits that make a good volunteer. Volunteering in Thailand brings people together from all walks of life, while also bringing different strengths. Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding experience and certain personality traits will make it easier for volunteers to get the most out of their time.

Volunteer Flexibility

Confronted with countless differences from the moment they step of the plane, people who can “go with the flow” make their experience a much more positive and smoother one than those who do not. Volunteering in Thailand can entail a lot schedule deviations, mix up of different activities and it’s not uncommon for plans to change. In Thailand, for example, rainstorms can come out of nowhere and ruin an outdoor excursion. But learning to have fun even in trying situations is a quality that makes a great volunteer.


Chiang Mai, Thailand Volunteer Group #182

Volunteer Chiang Mai Thailand Group 182

Cultural Sensitivity

Traveling to a country with a completely different culture, history, and language can be an intimidating experience. Staying aware of cultural differences is key to living and working abroad. It’s certainly not expected for a foreigner to understand all the intricacies of a new culture and society the moment they step foot in the country. Although, luckily, Thailand is home to very welcoming and forgiving people. Volunteers who handle cultural differences well tend to have much easier time getting along with the locals and other volunteers. For example, religion in Thailand is tied in closely with the cultural identity. Touching someone’s head is considered disrespectful in Thailand and while doing so wouldn’t cause a huge uproar, it’s a situation best avoided. And volunteers with Friends for Asia are not only dealing with the culture, but also the cultures that other volunteers bring with them as well. This cultural diversity makes volunteering in Thailand a memorable experience and a great way to meet people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Just always keep in mind that everyone’s culture is unique and special to them and mutual respect for other cultures other than your own is key to having a positive experience.

Volunteer Patience

Southeast Asia tends to move at a slower pace that what some may be used to back home. Being a few minutes late to meet a friend is considered normal and not entirely rude. Relating back to flexibility, being patient and care-free about small annoyances goes a long way. Working with people, not just from Thailand but with other volunteers from all over the world presents some challenges such as language barriers. There’s a lot going on culturally and linguistically, and patience is certainly the best approach to take when challenges arise.

Friends For Asia Bangkok Group 14


Volunteer Enthusiasm

People who show enthusiasm toward traveling and helping others make take rewarding and memorable experiences from their project. Sometimes the work can be challenging. With these challenges, putting a smile and bringing a positive energy to the school, orphanage or project site is must. Those with the enthusiasm to really contribute will be the ones that make the biggest impact and also take the most of the experience. In truth, the more volunteers put in to a project the more they will receive. Not only is enthusiasm and a positive outlook create a better all around experience for you and the people at the project site, it’s also infectious and can create a more positive outlook for a volunteer who may be feeling down, or unable to make as positive of a change that they had wanted. Being a hard worker and positive influence in the team strengthens relationships between volunteers and local people, thus adding to the overall experience. Sounds corny at the moment, but it really does increase what you get out of the experience, the lives you touch, and the memories you take home from your trip and project.


Volunteer Commitment

No matter how long someone decides to volunteer time, commitment to the program is a vital part to someone’s overall experience. Volunteering at a school in a rural area comes with its own challenges, and some days can be harder than others. But no matter what the situation calls for, those volunteers who show dedication in the face of hardships stand out among the rest. People who can finish what they start and do so with a positive attitude are always valuable members of the team.

Choosing to volunteer means becoming a part of something greater than oneself. Volunteers must sometimes put other people before themselves in order to get a project completed. Having qualities of selflessness and compassion for others help volunteers really make a lasting difference in the lives of those who them have come to serve. Learning to “go with the flow” and staying flexible throughout the volunteer’s time serving helps everyone involved. Being thrown into a foreign culture can be an intense experience for some, but maintaining cultural sensitivity during one’s time in someone else’s country will help build strong, trusting relationships. Having patience with other volunteers, Thai staff, and those at the project sites despite language barriers and cultural differences will ensure that no matter the situation, everyone can keep a positive attitude and report with one another. Being driven and enthusiastic about volunteering helps everyone involved in a project feel fulfilled and allows volunteers to feel more rewarded for a job well done. And finally, commitment to the work and having integrity with all property and relationships while volunteering makes someone a vital and beloved part of a volunteer group. These attributes, among others, will help ensure volunteers get the most out of their experience volunteering in Asia and return home with more than just memories and photographs, but quite possible a new outlook on oneself and the world in which they live.